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Lang deserving of Community Service Award
November 4, 2013 - Mike Donahey
The Spinning Wheel Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution made its first Community Service Award to Julie Jontz Lang of Marshalltown at the Historical Society of Marshall County museum Saturday. It was a wise choice.
Fittingly, more than 30 people, including some of Lang’s family, turned out to see the presentation emceed by Janice Juchems of the DAR.
Lang was chosen because of her passion and commitment to the Taylor No. 4 school over many years.
This included building restoration, historical research and staging approximately 30 reenactments annually with the county’s fourth graders.
In her acceptance speech, she readily acknowledged the contributions of others — especially staff and volunteers of the HSMC — in restoring the building, helping with reenactments and historical research.
She became the school historian — a position she relishes. The HSMC, in tandem with former students and educators, provided her with volumes of records and memorabilia. One day I was at Lang’s house for an interview and old journals, photos and letters almost completely covered the large table.
Taylor No. 4 operated from 1877 to 1955, with attendance ranging from six to 32, with 32 educators and many volunteers seeing duty over its 78 years, according to Lang. It was at “airport corners” four miles north of Marshalltown on Highway 14.
It was known as “Four Hills School,” Taylor No. 4 and the “Wetherbee School.” However, it was officially Taylor No. 4, because it was the fourth school in Taylor Township.
A fire in 1912 destroyed the original structure, but township residents rebuilt it with insurance money, donated labor and supplies.
After the school closed in 1955, it was purchased by the HSMC and moved to the old Central Iowa Fairgrounds on East Main Street. There it found a second life as a museum, a testament to the early endeavors of education. In 1964 the building was moved to a lot adjoining the Susie Sower House at 201 E. State St. where it remains today, awaiting the spring, Lang's reenactments and the sounds of footsteps on its wooden floors again.